Project Details

Brief / Problem

Hive's Thermostat's interface and overall aesthetics hadn't changed much in years, despite a few small improvements over time. I had the unique opportunity to completely rethink the thermostat's interface, whilst working closely with our industrial design studio to create a more modern, compact and affordable option for customers, and tackle on various collateral projects (i.e product pages designs).

Role & tools

  • ・Product Design (UI/UX)
  • ・Industrial Design
  • ・Prototyping
  • ・Sketch
  • ・Protopie

Above: Hive Thermostat Mini


Once a design direction for the physical aspects had been agreed with our industrial design studio, and I had rough specs for the display, I was able to lead on the UX/UI design of the Mini's interface, working closely with the Heating Product Owner and our Head of Product Design. I got to work on initial wireframes, increasing fidelity in Sketch, ensuring this would be our first model to fully leverage Hive's Honey design system, aiming for a better alignment with our wider ecosystem. To help lower the cost on the Mini, another challenge was that the entire UI would need to fit in a small LED display at the center of the product.

Above: sample UI screens / user flows

During this time I was testing Protopie as prototyping & interaction design tool. I saw a few benefits of using this tool. Firstly, it supports various types of interactions (swiping, voice controls...) and logic, which was really helpful. For example, we wanted customers to be able to change the temperature by a 0.5° value, and test the idea of colour coding for cold to hot values - this was possible using variables and learning how to build the logic for it, but would have been much more tedious to do in many other tools, and yet it wasn't overly complex to require the development team's time.

Above: heating & hot water concept recording

Testing & Insights

By using Protopie, I was able to assemble the closest possible thing to the intended physical product, that we could then quickly test and improve based on testing insights. The new speed at which we could test new interactions, transitions and adjust the overall experience triggered a lot of excitement in the team - compared to having to set up hardware prototypes at each iteration.

At the same time this would unlock user testing issues during Covid. We were now able to test digital protoypes remotely instead of physical ones - as we weren't able to organise in-person user labs or send out physical prototypes during the first Covid lockdown.

Above: enabling testing during Covid with Protopie

Some encouraging feedback came out of user testing pretty early on. Overall most participants found the thermostat sleek, modern, minimal and very easy to use. Small amends were made off the back of this, i.e: 2 of 5 users felt it wasn't so obvious to exit the heating and hot water menu, and that if they didn't need to take any action they could just walk away and the screen would time out shortly after. Following this a back navigation item was added to help improve this.


This was an unusual, yet exciting and rewarding project, especially considering the circumstances then - with Covid and a company-wide restructure happening at the time. I was later able to take a lead on other collateral work, such as the sales web pages designs. The product was finally successfully launched early 2022, and is now being sold on the Hive website. It has also recently won a design award from Good Design program 🥇.

Above: some of the latest UI

Following the introduction of Protopie and possibilities it offered, the software was added to my team's toolkit - it was good to see other designers getting excited to start using it for their own projects, and I was glad to be able to help them in getting familiar with it.

What's next?

I was involved in further explorations of voice-based interactions and a premium model with a more feature-rich display. Unfortunetaly, due to the restructure kicking off, these inititatives were cut short. As things have started settling down again, we will hopefully be able to pick this up again in the near future.

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